Toughie No 1349 by Warbler
+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +
BD Rating - Difficulty */** - Enjoyment ***
An enjoyable Tuesday-level puzzle from Warbler, not taxing but with a few uncommon words and uses. I like her attention to surface readings.
Do let us know how you got on and what you thought. First-time commenters welcome!
Definitions are underlined. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.
1a Make introduction before stroll (8)
PREAMBLE A prefix (whoops, there it is!) meaning before and a verb or noun meaning stroll.
6a Tax officer reportedly chooses subject matter (6)
TOPICS The abbreviation for Tax Officer and a homophone (reportedly) of chooses.
9a A test of the heart cavities (6)
ATRIAL The A from the clue and a word for a test or experiment.
10a Shy about dressing in old-fashioned way (8)
RETIRING About or concerning, plus an archaic word (in BRB but not in Chambers online) for dressing or clothing.
11a Refusing to accept the truth, I lie and foolishly will conceal name (2,6)
IN DENIAL ... on an Egyptian cruise, as they say. An anagram (foolishly) of I LIE AND goes round (will conceal) name.
12a Spot a copper lurking in motorway lane half-cut (6)
MACULA ... the type of spot or blemish that something im______te lacks. The A from the clue plus the chemical symbol for copper go between (lurking in) Motorway and the first half (half-cut) of lane.
13a Research student stated group that's gone wrong should accept answer (12)
POSTGRADUATE An anagram (that's gone wrong) of STATED GROUP goes round (should accept) answer.
16a To express disapproval about South American church shows excessive desire to please (12)
COMPLAISANCE A verb meaning to protest or express disapproval goes round South American, and is followed by the abbreviation for Church (of England).
19a Special gift of story books (6)
TALENT A story or narrative, and some books of the Bible.
21a Call for those retiring to carry on with Royal Mail (4,4)
LAST POST A verb meaning to carry on or persist, plus the service provided by the Royal Mail among others.
23a Prince quits pantomime when dressed as a marine fossil! (8)
AMMONITE An anagram (when dressed) of PANTOMIME after deleting (quits) Prince.
24a One's cold joining march back from frozen peak (6)
ICECAP The Roman numeral one, the abbreviation for cold, and a reversal (back) of a verb meaning to march or stride. (BRB lists mountain-top as one definition.)
25a Case appointment is around four (6)
DATIVE An appointment or assignation goes round the Roman numeral four.
26a Small American coins reportedly causing uncertainty (8)
SUSPENSE The abbreviation for small, a two-letter abbreviation for American, and a homophone (reportedly) of a unit of coinage.
2d Beret in Algeciras protects light-sensitive tissue (6)
RETINA The solution is hidden in BERETINALGECIRAS.
3d Assistant holds last of talks in private (5)
ASIDE An assistant to a senior politician or soldier goes round the last letter of talks.
4d Cat is able to swim about in watery expanse (6,3)
BALTIC SEA An anagram (to swim about) of CAT IS ABLE.
5d Nobleman seizing power starts to use gun silencer (7)
EARPLUG An aristocratic title goes round the abbreviation in physics for power and is followed by the initial letters of (starts to) use gun.
6d Jazz pianist gives thanks to pot (5)
TATUM A colloquial word for thanks and one for pot (meaning belly).
7d Soldier's truck carrying church canopy (9)
PARACHUTE An air infantry soldier and an Antipodean colloquial word for a utility vehicle go either side of the abbreviation for church.
8d Prisoner's accommodation with electronic fuse (8)
CONFLATE A prisoner or convict, a type of dwelling, and electronic.
13d Flavour of Ulster sausage (9)
PEPPERONI To flavour food with a spicy powder, the contracted form of of, and the part of the UK sometimes loosely referred to as Ulster. (This strikes me as a bit weak since the solution is a word derived from the 'flavour' in the clue -- or have I missed something?)
14d Sceptics assign OT rhetoric ultimately for analysis (9)
AGNOSTICS An anagram (for analysis) of ASSIGN OT and the last letter (ultimately) of rhetoric.
15d Missing in action after getting to unknown A&E with blood poisoning (8)
TOXAEMIA The acronym for missing in action goes after TO from the clue, an algebraic unknown, A and E.
17d They crack the case for Rebus (7)
SOLVERS A word for people who crack (problems or puzzles -- including crosswords) is given by a verb meaning to crack (in the same sense as the definition) plus the outer letters (case) of Rebus. The surface is an allusion to Ian Rankin's fictional Inspector Rebus. (To my mind this clue doesn't quite come off since 'crack' is doing double duty by being part of the definition and the wordplay, and also because it has the same meaning in both.)
18d Wilde's awards (6)
OSCARS Wilde's, in first-name form.
20d Part of heath in estate that was once yours (5)
THINE The solution is hidden in (part of) HEATHINESTATE.
22d Former currency adopts European coin (5)
PIECE A former monetary unit (equal to 1/64 of a rupee, if that helps) goes round European.
12a and 5d were my picks today. What were yours?
Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.